'Shameless' Star Jeremy Allen White Talks Character's Newfound Sobriety

By David Konow 09/20/17

The new season will bring about some major changes for Lip Gallagher, who has struggled with alcohol addiction over the past couple seasons.

Jeremy Allen White

The hit Showtime series Shameless is coming back for its eighth season on November 5, and Lip, the eldest son of Frank Gallagher, is trying to stay clean. How does Jeremy Allen White, who plays Lip, view his character as he struggles to stay sober?

“He’s trying to understand himself,” White told TV Guide. “He becomes almost childlike in his sobriety. He’s really going to his sponsor and his family members and asking questions, not thinking that he knows it all. It’s nice to see Lip curious, I guess.”

White added, “I’m not gonna say that Lip’s perfect this season because he’s not by any means, but I think you’ll see Lip thinking about his actions a bit more. Lip is obviously incredibly intelligent, but I think emotional intelligence is a completely different thing, and he often struggles with making the right choices.”

White told Esquire that before Lip went to college, he was in a home environment where he could get away with being an alcoholic. “It took him going to college to get the finger pointed at him. In his environment, growing up, it takes a whole lot more to get in trouble for that kind of thing.”

He also told Vulture, “Where he grew up, drinking is so sewn into the culture that he doesn’t know anything else…The idea of him getting help or not drinking is such a foreign concept.”

Previously on the show, Frank, the notorious patriarch of the household (played by William H. Macy), desperately needed a liver transplant, but kept drinking even after his life was saved. As Macy told Gold Derby, “The show deals with drugs in a funny way but it doesn’t shy away from the dark side of that. Addiction can ruin lives and ruin families.” 

Season eight will reportedly bring about some big changes for Frank as well, as he deals with the loss of his soulmate Monica (and mother to his kids) from a cerebral hemorrhage. (At the end of season seven, Monica ends up leaving seven pounds of meth behind, with a street value of $70,000, and Frank gives a chunk of it to his children as an inheritance.)

Yet Macy told Variety that Frank is now shaving, and he also has a credit card, a car and a job, “But he’s been so loaded for so long, he’s a little bit crazy when he first comes back.” Macy ominously warns that his character is “devastated by the loss of Monica. The ghost of Monica will live on and on and on, especially for Frank.” 

Please read our comment policy. - The Fix

In addition to contributing for The Fix, David Konow has also written for Esquire, Deadline, LA Weekly, Village Voice, The Wrap, and many other publications and websites. He is also the author of the three decade history of heavy metal, Bang Your Head (Three Rivers Press), and the horror film history Reel Terror (St Martins Press). Find David on LinkedIn and Facebook.